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Women's Tennis

Catherine Isip, right, and Audrey Leitz will take the court Friday for the Gaels.
Catherine Isip, right, and Audrey Leitz will take the court Friday for the Gaels.
WTEN | Gaels Begin Hunt For WCC Tourney Title
Release: Friday 04/25/2013 
by SMC Athletics

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's women's tennis team had the option this week of resting on the laurels of a regular season that saw the Gaels finish atop the West Coast Conference standings.

That wasn't the case for a hungry group from Moraga, and Saint Mary's will take the court in the semifinals of the WCC Championships on Friday with one clear goal: win two more matches.

The Gaels head to the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego as the No. 1 seed, having finished 7-1 and in a three-way tie with Pepperdine and Santa Clara to finish the regular season. Ranked No. 40 in the country, Saint Mary's got the top seed due to being the highest-ranked team of the three.

While all are considered WCC champions, there is only one way to ensure a trip to the NCAA Tournament -- win this weekend.

Saint Mary's will play the winner of Thursday's match between No. 4 San Diego and No. 5 San Francisco. Both the Toreros and Dons won on Wednesday to advance to Thursday's quarterfinals.

The Gaels last played on April 14, defeating Loyola Marymount 4-3 to wrap up the regular season. That put a cap on a season that saw Saint Mary's defeat No. 7-ranked Stanford, along with four other ranked teams. SMC finished the regular season with a 12-8 overall record.

Up and down the lineup, every Gaels player has had a moment to shine. Jenny Jullien has led the way at No. 1 singles, earning WCC Player of the Month honors for three straight months. She enters the postseason with a 16-5 spring record and a No. 23 national ranking.

Five Gaels finished the regular season with a winning record in the spring. Senior team captain Catherine Isip has been strongest in WCC play, going 7-1 in conference while playing at No. 2.

Isip has also been a doubles wizard, going a combined 13-5 this spring with two different partners. She remains ranked nationally (No. 78) with Elizabeth Searl, but switched partners in the conference season and has gone 5-0 when paired with Audrey Leitz.